Is New York Children Learning? New Test Scores Admit Defeat (Village Voice/Runnin’ Scared)

The latest New York City test scores are out, and as I predicted back in January, they show that what looked like improvement was more like a test-score bubble:

The New York state education department issued its annual test scores for 3rd- through 8th-graders this morning, and the takeaway is: They blow. The number of students judged proficient in English fell from 77% in 2009 to 53% this year; in math, the percent earning passing grades plunged from 86% to 61%.

The state, however, was quick to note that it had anticipated crappy scores, seeing as it had raised the scores required to pass — “cut scores,” in testing lingo — after widespread criticism that New York students had been doing better on state tests but not on national ones. The real upshot, then: New York schools aren’t any crappier than ever, it’s just that prior reports of improvement were an illusion.[read more]